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Chet Baker: Chet Baker Sings

Mark Barnett By

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This may be the most popular song you haven't heard. Written in 1922, it's been recorded by everyone from Gene Autry to Mario Lanza, and from Al Jolson to Stan Getz. Pay attention to the words. They may seem sappy on first listening, but after a while they'll grow on you. Baker opens with a muted solo that's nicely improvised yet captures enough of the original melody to familiarize you with the tune. He somehow seems to relate to "My Buddy," delivering the words with a feeling that's missing from a lot of what he sings. (Or am I imagining this?)

Track 8, "Time After Time"

A great jazz standard, this one by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, from still another cookie-cutter movie ("It Happened in Brooklyn") that disappeared without a trace. At 1:27, as Baker begins his trumpet solo, notice how he misses just slightly on the first note. This is the kind of thing that normally would be fixed afterwards in the studio, but leaving it in lends a nice, warm touch. It reminds us that these musicians are human, and what they produce can't be perfect. Jazz is "artisanal," to quote from the sign at the local bakery.

Track 12, "The Thrill is Gone"

Best known as an immensely popular R&B hit by B.B. King, this song is taken at dirge-pace by Baker. The track features some not-to-be-missed over-dubbing, in which Baker accompanies his own voice on trumpet.

Personnel: Chet Baker: Vocals, Trumpet; Russ Freeman: Piano, Celesta; Carson Smith:Bass; James Bond: Bass; Bob Neel: Drums; Lawrence Marable: Drums; Peter Littman: Drums;

Title: Chet Baker Sings | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Pacific Jazz Records

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